What do you stand for? Well, not you so much you personally, your business. Do you know? Do the people who work for you? Most importantly do your customers, and your potential customers?
A solid brand has real clarity about its purpose, its values and who it is talking to. It is this clarity that ensures that the company speaks with one voice, that makes its communications recognisable, that realises the true benefits of brand recognition. The value of this should be obvious in a world where B2B purchasers are following a similar multi-touch route to their consumer counter-parts.
B2B marketing, especially in technology, has focussed more on the ‘hard’ components of differentiation, features, pricing, quality and less on the more intangible areas of reputation, customer experience and the skeptics favourite ‘emotion’. After all this is a business sale, rationality and the blunt realities of commerce surely rule?
What’s more there is a tendency in B2B marketing to take a tactical view of brand. Under the established umbrella of a logo marque and maybe a strap line, tactical messaging, visuals and presentation proliferate against the established ‘needs’ of the audience. There is a tendency to treat audiences as silo’d, static and immobile, the last vestige of the print and trade show mentality.
But this is a connected world, research undertaken by Google shows that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process, and that nearly half of those researchers are ‘millennial’, That’s an appalling way of segmenting a massive and hugely differentiated audience, but does hint about the likelihood for deeper concern about brand, values and association.
The same survey indicates that B2B researchers are conducting an average 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. That’s 12 opportunities to encounter information about your brand that is old, from a campaign not relevant to this audience and, more likely, from sources not directly related to your organisation, or under your control.
What does that mean? Well if the core of your brand, its values and its messages aren’t clear within your organisation, what are the chances they are being communicated consistently and clearly to your audience?
So what can you do? Take the time to get some clarity around your brand, your values, what you really stand for, and then communicate it. Ensure that everyone within your organisation understand, so that when they communicate outwards they know what to say and why the are saying it.
Know who your audience is and what they care about, so you can talk to them beyond the basics of price and quality. Brands that engage with customers perform better irrespective of their market. And customers, including business customers choose to engage with brands who have something to say that they can recognise and respond to.
Simply put, being clear about your brand helps with the clarity of your communication, improving the interactions you have with your customers and prospects and leads to better results for your business.
Jay is Strategy Director at design agency Make it Clear, we make technology easier to use, engage with and understand. We help organisations improve customer interaction with products and services through clarity in design and communication, delivering better experiences at every touchpoint.